On 24 October, the Combating Terrorism Center published the third report in its “Beyond the Caliphate” series, which seeks to evaluate how the Islamic State’s influence, operational reach, and capabilities are changing in areas that fall outside of its physical caliphate. The third report focuses specifically on Morocco.
Even though there have been no attacks by the Islamic State in Morocco to date, this study finds that 33 terrorist plots linked to or inspired by the group have been uncovered in Morocco since June 2014. It also finds that slightly more than 60% of those plots had direct links to Islamic State operatives either based in Syria or Iraq, or within Morocco itself. In the majority of those cases, the Islamic State attempted to “remote control” and provide operational guidance to local cells from afar.
Given the Maghreb’s strategic location and the links between operatives of Moroccan descent and recent attacks in Europe, these attempted plots serve as a warning to the international community that Morocco is not to be overlooked. Indeed, as increasing numbers of communities within close proximity to Morocco see violence from actors linked to or inspired by the Islamic State, the data reviewed in this study demonstrates how Morocco could very well become a stage for similar forms of violence.
All of the CTC’s “Beyond the Caliphate” reports are available here.